ROCKLIN – Middle school students at Chicago Park elementary school located at 15725 Mt Olive Rd. in Grass Valley will use mills, lathes and other metal working tools to produce parts and manufacture Tech-Explorer catapults on Wednesday, December 10. Sierra College Workforce Development (www.sierracollegetraining.com click “Tech Ed”) is bringing this hands-on applied academics project to the school to promote Career Technical Education (CTE) and Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) educational paths and careers.
Math and science become more pertinent and exciting when students measure, bend, drill and cut metal parts on industrial equipment and assemble catapults. According to the National Middle School Association (www.nmsa.org), “young adolescents learn best through engagement and interaction” with curriculum “that is relevant, challenging, integrative, and exploratory.” This We Believe: Successful Schools for Young Adolescents (2003) [PDF]
Dan Zeisler, Chicago Park Principal, says that the Tech-Explorer Catapult project fits with the school’s commitment to prepare students for the future. “My philosophy is that learning must take place beyond the four walls of the classroom,” said Zeisler. “Hands-on activities that reinforce math and science concepts are especially effective in engaging students. This Tech-Explorer project also introduces students to a wide range of career opportunities and leads into the career exploration program we are developing at Chicago Park.”
Attracting young people to technical careers is critical to filling expected demand for future California workers. According to Math & Science Gateways to California’s Fastest Growing Careers, “to get high-paying jobs in some of California’s fastest-growing occupations, a strong background in math and science is a must.”
Tech-Explorer is being brought to the students through a grant from the California Community College Chancellor’s office. According to Sandra Scott, Director of Workforce Development at Sierra College, the goal is to strengthen CTE and STEM education by increasing connections between community college programs and secondary schools. “Our vision is to engage all students in applied learning and encourage them to pursue classes now, in high school and later at Sierra College that can lead to rewarding technical careers,” said Scott. “Developing their interest in middle school can give them an edge in determining their future.”
The mission of the Workforce Development & Continuing Education Division is to deliver flexible learning opportunities that produce change. For more information, go to www.sierracollegetraining.com or contact Sandra Scott, Sierra College Workforce Development and Continuing Education at (916) 781-6244.